Joon-Hee (played by Song Ha-yoon) is a sweet lonely woman. She has little in the way of friends and family and has difficulty opening up to people, but is a very sunny cheerful person when she wants to be. Joon-Hee ends up picking a place of questionable appropriateness to start trying to open up- at the first year memorial of her old co-worker Tae-Soo (played stone-cold by Jo Yeon-woo), where she proceeds to try and get close with his surviving family members.
This drama is, first and foremost, about sisterhood. Tae Soo's widow Eun-Ha (played by Ye Ji-won) is, to Joon-Hee, her unnie- an older, wiser, kind person who deserves the utmost respect. To Tae-Soo's daughter, Yoo-Jeong (played by Lee Young-yoo) Joon-Hee is an unnie- a big sister who can sometimes be annoying, yet still be trusted to help her little sis out when the time arises.
The tension in the drama comes from Eun-Ha's suspicions that her husband had an affair with Joon-Hee while he was still alive. But even though this is the essential plot point, the drama makes it feel irrelevant. These women are all connected by the spectre of Tae-Soo, but his spirit has almost no presence in the proceedings. Jo Yeon-woo does an excellent job portraying Tae-Soo as a quiet mysterious man whose displays of affection are so subtle, and hidden under such a gruff exterior, that it's easy to understand why Eun-Ha would be paranoid, and why Joon-Hee would idolize him so much.
But the beauty in this drama is that the literal plot doesn't matter. While there's a tinge of sadness underneath everything, there is the strong sense that, Tae-Soo's premature death notwithstanding, he left all these women as stronger, more capable human beings than when he found them. This wasn't through the force of his charisma- rather, Tae-Soo just reenforced the idea that they are all confident, capable assertive people. It's little surprise that Joon-Hee admires her unnie so much- Eun-Ha would have to be an amazing person to deserve Tae-Soo's respect.
The narrative in "Drama Special - Something Like That" isn't a particularly innovative one, but the performances give it an amount of heart and warmth that really elevates the proceedings. This is a story that, at its core, is about the worst possible kind of abuse of trust, one so bad that even just the suspicion of it can be stultifying. But the drama never meanders into cheap despair or hand-wringing- even in a situation this superficially bad, sisterhood can overcome. And that's the kind of sweet storyline I, at least, can really appreciate.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Drama Special - Something Like That""
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